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History of the Day for:
- 1787: Shays' Rebellion, an uprising of Massachusetts farmers led by Daniel Shays, ended with defeat at Petersham.
- 1789: George Washington was elected the first President of the United States.
- 1822: The American Colonization Society founded the African state of Liberia in West Africa as a home for freed U.S. slaves.
- 1824: J.W. Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes to the public.
- 1861: The Confederate constitutional convention met for the first time in Montgomery, Ala., to form the Confederate States Of America.
- 1902: Charles Lindbergh, the first person to make a solo flight across the Atlantic in May 1937, was born.
- 1924: The first Winter Olympic games came to a close at Chamonix, France.
- 1932: New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the third Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, N.Y.
- 1936: Radium E became the first synthetically produced radioactive substance.
- 1938: "Our Town," Thornton Wilder's play about small-town life in America, opened on Broadway.
- 1941: The United Service Organization was formed to serve the social, educational, welfare and religious needs of members of the armed forces.
- 1945: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in the Crimea to discuss plans for the defeat of the Axis powers and to decide on the post-war future.
- 1971: British carmaker Rolls Royce declared itself bankrupt.
- 1974: Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, Calif., by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
- 1976: The 12th Winter Olympic games opened in Innsbruck, Austria.
- 1977: Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" was released. The album shot to the top of Billboard's chart and remained there for 31 weeks. More than 17 million copies have been sold in the United States.
- 1983: Singer Karen Carpenter, who had suffered from anorexia nervosa, died of cardiac arrest in Downey, Calif., at age 32.
- 1987: Pianist Liberace died at his Palm Springs, Calif., home at age 67 of complications from AIDS.
- 1997: Sixteen months after O.J. Simpson was cleared of murder charges, a civil trial jury blamed him for the killings of his ex-wife and her friend and ordered him to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages.